Ask Ellie: Shared communication is essential for a healthy long-term relationship – Times Colonist

Advice Columnist Ellie

Reader’s Commentary regarding a wife’s new job acceptance without any discussion with her husband (May 21):

“I’m a husband who finds that non-communication between partners is inconceivable.

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“When my wife wanted to go back to work — with our youngest in school along with our older child — we discussed how we’d feel and be affected by her working full-time. We also considered how our children would feel, and the impact on their emotional needs, schooling and care.

“Later, another position opened up, which involved travel. We expressed mutual concern about its effect on our children. We talked about issues of child illnesses, the impact on me and my job, on extracurricular and sports activities for the children. She got the job. It worked out fairly well.

“Several years later, another position arose in another city where we both wanted to move. We agreed on her applying for it.

“We then discussed the children’s potential reactions and how they would feel (she’d be home only on weekends), the added work load for me, and the changes in the family dynamics.

“My wife got the job. She and the kids moved. I stayed back alone clearing up things, until we were all together in our new place.

“The move was much harder on our children than we thought — leaving school, a sports team, close friends. Sometimes it was very hard on them, and us.

“I find it self-centered that anyone could get a new job and not discuss it with their partner, especially when it involves absences from the home. It’s too major a change not to be discussed.”

Reader’s Commentary: “Is it ever OK to alienate a parent/spouse? My experience showed that sometimes there’s no other choice!

“When I separated from my spouse, it was because he was an incorrigible criminal who was very abusive with his three-year-old son. (After separation his threats were so serious, I obtained a judge’s restraining order).

“He took me to court for access and I told the Judge, “I do not think I need a lawyer but I do think my sons need one.”

“He postponed the case while “Children’s Advocates” got to know the boys and render their wishes in court.

“Nothing they said could convince my sons to allow their father access. Ultimately, they agreed that he could write/send letters and cards but they weren’t obligated to reply (he sent no letters or cards).

“The only further communication was him sending the younger son a gift of a bag of stolen coins!

“Never did he contribute even $10-$20 a month in child support, though he agreed it would’ve been easy for him to provide.

“I would’ve delighted to tell his sons that their father loved them enough to contribute to their care, despite his mental problems. (I never told them that he didn’t love them, only that he had mental issues).

“Years later he started guilting his older son, then 14, about “his obligation to take care of (him) as I’m getting old.”

“I told my son that he had no such obligation and his only responsibility was to remain a good student and prepare for his own future.

“Now grown, the younger son maintains some communication with him and it hasn’t served my son well.

“I’m not sorry that I alienated him from his children. But I do feel compassion for the unpleasant way his life has worked out, though it’s all of his own making.”

Feedback regarding the harassed husband (June 30):

Reader: “Some psychologists call this behaviour “narcissistic entitlement” and I’m speaking from experience.

“The husband should be forewarned, that if she starts to feel threatened by his taking action to protect himself, her attitude could worsen.

“He should be prepared to immediately move into a hotel for a couple of weeks, along with his adult daughter (many hotels have suites with separate bedrooms and small kitchenettes).

“This was the advice a police sergeant gave to me on one of their police visits to our home and who my now ex-wife had tried to intimidate to get her way.”

Reader 2: “I recently heard a BBC report on how ill-informed we are about the inevitable “change” every woman faces from menopause (Ellie: defined as “diagnosed after a woman’s gone 12 months without a menstrual period”) which can sometimes appear like early onset Alzheimer’s’ according to one of the women interviewed.”

Ellie’s tip of the day

Shared communication is essential for a healthy long-term relationship, especially when issues call for compromise on divided opinions.

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